Homes are more polluted than schools or workplaces, according to a new study. It has been discovered that if the DNA of golden pothos is combined with the CYP2E1 gene of a rabbit, it may filter the air. Every mammal possesses the cytochrome P450 2E1 enzyme gene, which aids in the breakdown of a wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including several that are poisonous. Alcohol is further broken down by this enzyme in the human liver.
The scientists reportedly concentrated on chloroform and benzene because they are known carcinogens. Using household items, smoking, cooking, and taking a shower all produce these chemicals. Genetically modified and non-modified plants were exposed to benzene or chloroform in glass tubes for the experiment’s purposes. After 11 days of monitoring, it was discovered that the modified plants served as air cleaners.
According to author Stuart Strand, the dangerous chemicals are eliminated and not stored. Carbon dioxide and chlorine ions are produced during the process of photosynthesis, according to him. Phenol, a byproduct of the benzene conversion process, is a plant cell building material.
Formaldehyde, a human carcinogen present in cigarette smoke, is currently the focus of research by scientists looking for ways to eliminate it from the air. Cancer risk could be reduced for those who spend a large portion of their time at home by using genetically modified plants.
Pawel Misztal, an atmospheric chemist and physicist, stated that while the work is interesting, it is unlikely to solve the problem of exposure. There are other approaches that should be considered in order to deal with this problem, such as getting out of the house to get some fresh air and eating antioxidant-rich green vegetables, according to plant biotechnologist Liz Rylott. However, the Agriculture Department in the United States has yet to authorise the sale of the plants in Canada.
This isn’t the only approach scientists at Tennessee University have come up with for notifying people about the existence of dangerous chemicals like mould.
When it comes to detecting explosive substances in groundwater, MIT engineers have been investigating experiments like printing sensors onto plant leaves to indicate water shortages. Other possible applications include recording and transmitting 3D images of the environment.